By Devin Partida, ReHack.com
Digital transformation has accelerated among businesses so quickly that it’s become something of a buzzword. Retailers everywhere speak of embracing new technologies, yet much of the focus has remained on operational benefits. Some stores may not realize that technology can bring many customer-facing benefits, as well.
Here are six ways in which technology improves the shopping experience.
1. Enabling More Efficient Service
The inside, operational benefits of retail technology also bring value to customers. Services like robotic process automation (RPA) streamline repetitive tasks, freeing employees to help guests. Since the non-value-adding functions don’t take as long, customers can enjoy faster service from employees.
Similarly, more efficient checkout technologies enable streamlined shopping experiences. A recent survey revealed that 89% of Amazon Go shoppers had a good or excellent experience with the automated checkout-based store.
2. Personalizing Shopping Experiences
New technologies also make personalized shopping possible. Omnichannel marketing strategies can track a customer’s in-store and online behavior, using that data to provide relevant, highly personalized ads. Customers can then discover products or stores they’re likely to enjoy.
Similarly, these same systems can offer discounts and promotions specific to a certain customer. Different shoppers can get varying deals based on the products they buy most or would likely enjoy. Since 96% of retail executives are boosting analytics to improve customer loyalty, these benefits come back to the retailer.
3. Making Information Accessible
Consumers like to be informed. For example, 86% of web users want to find information about a company’s products on its homepage. Technology like website builders and behavioral analytics allows retailers to optimize their websites to provide the information visitors are after.
Dedicated smartphone apps can provide even more insight for customers. Retailers can use them to notify consumers when products are back in stock, about changing store hours, or anything else they’d like to know. This transparency provides a more comfortable, less frustrating shopping experience.
4. Keeping In-Demand Items In Stock
Inefficient stocking practices can frustrate customers, but technology provides a solution. Stores can use sensors and smart cameras to track how items sell, alerting workers when stocks run low. Retailers can then ensure fast-selling products don’t create disruptions in other customers’ shopping experiences.
Similarly, data analytics algorithms can track sales over time to predict future changes. These insights let retailers adjust their inventory according to incoming seasonal demand shifts. This adaptability results in customers always being able to find what they want in stock.
5. Providing More Shopping Options
Consumer trends and preferences aren’t always uniform, with shoppers carrying different needs and desires. Technology can account for these variations, helping retailers provide more options for a wider consumer base. The rise of e-commerce and hybrid shopping experiences highlights this movement.
Shoppers remain fairly evenly split on whether they prefer online or in-person shopping. Apps and inventory systems that track e-commerce and in-store sales allow retailers to provide an equal experience to both groups. With technologies like smart lockers and dedicated apps, they also can expand their buy-online-pickup-in-store options.
6. Engaging Customers
Implementing new technologies in retail stores can engage customers on a deeper level. Tech is exciting, so getting to use it in-store can create an engaging shopping experience. Augmented reality (AR) technologies are some of the best examples of this.
AR mirrors allow customers to see how some items may look on them without trying anything on. Even if they could get similar information from a traditional alternative, using AR provides a novel experience. Customers could return to a store for the novelty of using these cutting-edge technologies alone.
Technology Has Redefined The Retail Experience
Today’s retail shoppers can enjoy more accessibility, efficiency, convenience, and engagement thanks to new technologies. As these systems become more common, customers will come to expect them, not just enjoy them. Technology has forever shifted the retail shopping experience.
About The Author
Devin Partida is a writer and blogger interested in retail technologies and business solutions. To read more from Devin, visit ReHack.com, where she is the Editor-in-Chief.